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Empangeni Baptist Church

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During 1968 members of the Natal Baptist Association visited Empangeni with a view to starting a fellowship.


In October 1968 the N.B.A. called Arthur and May Holgate to pastor the Baptist work in Empangeni. In order to achieve this, Rev. Holgate took early retirement from the teaching profession. They were accommodated in Arntzen’s Trading Store, Mavamhlope (white thorns) on the old road to Eshowe which was 10,6 kms out of Empangeni opposite the Bruce-Dunn’s old farmhouse.

On 12 February 1969, the Baptist fellowship of approximately twelve members met together for the first time, on the spacious veranda of Arntzen’s home. Mrs van Noordwyk played the piano. Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three come together in my Name, there am I with them", is indeed true of our humble birth; this was the start of the Empangeni Baptist Church.


By the next Sunday, 2 March 1969, it was decided to hold morning and evening services in the Empangeni Public Hall. Average attendances were 12 - 15 members. The foundation families were the Svenssons (Arnold was the Secretary/Treasurer), Colleges, Carstens, Bothas, Proberts, Cockwells, Loots and Nells. Sunday School had an average attendance of 15. Weekly prayer and bible study groups were held in various homes; the Baptist Women's Association was started by Mrs May Holgate and a Young People's Fellowship was organized by the Cockwells.


The Holgates then moved into town, to S Peacehaven Flats, and the work flourished. The Lord gave these pioneers a promise for the work - Acts 20:24 "However I consider my life worth nothing to me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" and also a promise for the building fund - Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus".


Memorable Sunday School picnics were held on the Svensson's farm, Ekhupumaleni and there was a wonderful church camp with missionary friends, the Stevens at Cape Vidal

The early work was cradled in prayer, but it was not without sorrow because in 1970 May Holgate was called home. She had been a great encourager and devoted worker in the early years. Rev Holgate continued to serve the fellowship until August 1972 when the Church was formally constituted by Rev George Dennison with 17 foundation members and the deacons being Arnold Svensson, Brian Cockwell and Ken College.


Rev B.A. Foster,  Baptist Union missionary in Zululand, served the congregation during the interim.


Random pictures from our photo gallery

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